Michael Regan, President Joe Biden’s freshly sworn in Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, is seeking to clean up the mess left behind by the previous administration’s politically motivated attacks on science.
“When politics drives science rather than science informing policy, we are more likely to make policy choices that sacrifice the health of the most vulnerable among us,” Regan wrote in a letter to his staff obtained by NBC News.
“Manipulating, suppressing or otherwise impeding science” has “real world consequences for human health and the environment,” the administrator said.
He also promised that “retaliation, retribution, intimidation, bullying, or other reprisals” against staffers who raise any concerns to the EPA’s scientific integrity officials or the agency’s watchdog “will not be tolerated.”
Regan’s memo marks a full pivot from President Donald Trump’s rejection of climate science in favor of corporate-friendly policies that gutted the EPA’s crucial role in protecting the environment and combating climate change.
The previous administration made it their mission to slash EPA regulations, particularly those concerning pollution and gas emissions. Scientific researchers were routinely sidelined, and the Washington Post found that nearly 700 scientists at the EPA had left the agency by January 2020 after Trump took office. The administration even ordered the EPA to take down its page on climate change from its website.